SC directs Rajasthan govt to pay compensation to children orphaned by Covid within two weeks
The Supreme Court on Friday directed the Rajasthan government to pay compensation to children orphaned by COVID-19 within two weeks.
A bench of Justices M R Shah and Sudhanshu Dhulia also ordered the state government to furnish particulars to the state legal service authority with respect to rejected applications of payment of ex-gratia assistance within two weeks.
It asked the Rajasthan State Legal Services Authority to look into these applications and take appropriate decisions within four weeks thereafter.
"In so far as pending applications for compensation to orphans are concerned, we direct the state to make the payment to remaining applicants whose parents have died due to Covid within two weeks," the bench said.
The Rajasthan government informed the top court that 191 children, who became orphans due to Covid, have been paid ex-gratia out of total number of 718.
On the issue of suicidal deaths, the counsel for the state government also apprised the bench that at district level 9,077 applications were received out of which 551 are pending, 8047 are sanctioned and 479 have been rejected.
The top court had earlier rapped the Rajasthan government over its "unsatisfactory" affidavit enumerating steps on payment of ex-gratia to family members of those who died of COVID-19, and said it was not doing any charity.
The apex court was hearing a plea filed by advocate Gaurav Kumar Bansal alleging Rajasthan is not adhering to the 2021 order directing states to pay ex-gratia of Rs 50,000 to the families of those who succumbed to the pandemic.
Bansal also sought directions to call for status reports from the State Legal Services Authorities with respect to enforcement of its orders.
The apex court had earlier expressed concern over fake claims being made for securing ex-gratia of Rs 50,000 meant for the families of those who died due to Covid, saying it had never visualised that the relief can be "misused".
It had said on October 4 last year that no state shall deny ex-gratia of Rs 50,000 to the next of kin of those who died after being infected with Covid solely on the grounds that the death certificate does not mention the virus as the cause of the death.